Thursday, March 16, 2023

Mini Review: Kita-boshi Bicolor/Single Color Set


Full-length and bicolors in one set!

The most hazardous outcome of getting COVID was my Visa bill after self-administering online retail therapy during the week I was quarantined. One of many purchases (you’ve seen at least one already; you’ll eventually see others, I’m sure) was this unusual set of colored pencils from Kita-boshi: It contains both bicolors and single-color, full-length pencils!

I already knew that Kitaboshi (the company seems to be inconsistent in its use of the hyphen in its name, so I will be, too) makes excellent graphite pencils with a beautiful natural-finish barrel. Kitaboshi’s “branding” seems to be none at all: The round, natural barrel on the colored pencils is elegant and even more understated than the graphite pencils; no logo or any other text appears. The bicolors are divided with a simple metallic gold band. According to the package, the pencils are made of “genuine incense cedar” (the only English text), and their delicious scent confirms this.

The same lovely barrel appears on its Wood Note Double Color set of bicolors, which I’ve had for a while. I figured the cores in my new set would be the same as the Wood Note pencils, and they are: Neither hard nor soft, and with average pigment. Not exactly a rousing endorsement, but what an intriguing set!

Kitaboshi Wood Note bicolor pencils

Beautifully understated, totally unbranded

Package back

What, exactly, is the strategy for half the pencils being full-length and the rest bicolors? Perhaps the full-length colors (basic primaries plus a peachy hue that some would label “flesh”) are used more often than the halves (secondaries, pink, brown, gray, white)? Or maybe Kita-boshi staff sat in a conference room, and someone in marketing shouted, “Hey, there are no colored pencils on the market that include both bicolors and single colors!”?

In fact, they are on the market already. With further research, I discovered that this wasn’t Kita-boshi’s only set of the intriguing mix: At least one other set exists on eBay. So maybe this is Kita-boshi’s thing.

It’s a mystery (especially since I can’t read most of the packaging information, which could contain the answer). In any case, I didn’t care (I blame COVID, but you already know I would have bought them in full health).

2/22/23 Kita-boshi pencils in Uglybook sketchbook 
(Earthsworld reference photo)

I got my set from Yoseka Stationery, which is a delightful New York City shop with many unique items. I had already recovered by the time my order arrived, but it lifted my spirits just the same to receive a handwritten note from owner Daisy and my pencils wrapped like a gift. I love shopping at small indie shops!

I heart Yoseka!


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